16 to 18, April 160 Kemants Detained

In Ethiopia, Gondar, on April, 18, 2014, wlka’s informant contacted Aykel Police Station sent the following report: Since April 16 to date 160 people have been arrested following clash broke up after police started beating people whom were discussing on an examination issue with respective instructors and district education officers. The instructors held consultation with parents and students on an exam issue. The students have been on boycott to press for release of more than 60-Kemant political prisoners since March.
While the people gathered, a group of a special force began beating randomly and created chaos. The force is led by Desire Aseme, Head of Regional Security and his colleagues (Commander Worku, Inspector Yewubdar and Zewdu Amare). According the police source, 15-students haven hospitalized, 10 of them suffering from serious bone fracture. The police source also claimed 20-police men have been hospitalized due to injuries sustained during the incident. Following the event, the special force in collaboration with the local police has detained 160 people including 16 high school teachers, and many women and children (students). Some observers stated that some of detainees have been released.
Defense force was called to take measures against the residents, but after assessing the situation, the defense force declined to take measures. It reportedly said, there was no problem on the public side and pointed its finger on the administration. It was also reported that one of a senior official at Federal Security saying, reports submitted by Regional Security on Kemant’s alleged crime was fake, drama and they have cheated us by giving the false report.

In related news, on April 11, clash took place between residents and police, caused the death of 4 to 5 people and 1-police lost his eye, in Bahir Dar City, Kebele 13, known as Geter Menged. According to neighbors, the incident occurred as a municipal task force demolished the residents’ houses. The city municipality claimed the houses were illegally constructed and must be removed. But, the residents argued their occupation is legal and living almost for the decade, but they couldn’t secure the paper from the municipal office because they didn’t have money to bribe the municipal officials who put the condition to complete the paper work.

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Questions to Human Rights Watch

My kind question goes primarily to Human Rights Watch Africa. Indeed, Human Rights Watch had valuable reputations in eyes of ordinary people for its strong, uncompromisable position on human right issues in the continent. Nowadays, the Human Rights Watch Africa seems not upholding its principles and values regard to human rights. I believe that there can be many reasons for down grading its stand, for example, due to:
1. Lack of information ongoing human right violations, including the absence of an easily reachable contact person who can provide in writing and orally detail report in a specific case and remind frequently.
2. The presence of misleading employees within the Human Rights Watch itself for their political or ethnic interests. These employees conceal a report they received for “virtue” of being agents of HRW, or create false impression in order to diverse the agency’s focus.
3. Human Rights Watch is probably compromising on the universality of human rights and covering only issues the Western powers’ political fever is high.
The reason, I’m forwarding these questions is since March 2014, more than 60 innocent Agaw-Kemant ethnic members have been abducted and detained by a government security force in North Gondar, Ethiopia. Twenty-nine of them have been held in the remote areas, the places called Debark & Debat, inaccessible to their families and visitors (Read Report). The reason for abduction and detention is Kemant’s demand for self-government, like other ethnic groups in Ethiopia, in accordance with Ethiopian Constitution 1995, Article 39. Despite gross human right violation has been committed in the region, I have never heard any thing from Human Rights Watch Africa and other western agencies. What is the reason? Are these people not humans? These people do not deserve respect of their human rights? I kindly look forward to hearing clarification from the HRW.
Balaw Awoke

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Agaw-Kemant Nations & Emperor Tewodros II

By Getahun K

እንኳን ለኃያላን ኃያል ለአማልክት አምላክ ለድንግል ማርያም ልጅ መድኃኔዓለም በዓል በሰላም አደረሳችሁ ጌታዬ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ሆይ የፍጥረትህን ጥሪ ከመስማት ቸል ለማይሉ ጆሮች ህ ሰላምታ ይገባል። ህሊናትን ሁሉ ለሚገዛ ውስጣዊ ህሊናህ ጉዳዩን ያስተላልፋሉና። ፈጣሪዬ ክርስቶስ ሆይ ያዕቆብን በመንገድ የምትመራው የደመና ዓምድ ነህ በእርጅናዬና በድካሜ ሰዓት ከጥፋት ላይ እንዳልወድቅ አቤቱ በቀና ጎዳና ምራኝ።
ዛሬም ዘወትርም ለዘለዓለሙ አሜን። Emperor Tewodros II was born Kassa Haile Giorgis, (often refered to as Kassa Hailu), the son of a minor nobleman of Qwara district of Dembia, a region of western Beghemider province bordering on the Sudan. His actual place of birth was in the small villiage of Dawa, located about 12 kilometers from the city of Gondar, in 1818. His father, Haile Giorgis Wolde Giorgis would die long before Kassa could possibly have remembered him. Kassa’s paternal grandfather was Dejazmatch Wolde Giorgis, a prominent nobleman of his time. Kassa’s mother was named Woizero Attitegeb Wondbewossen, and her paternal grandfather was Ras Wodajo, another powerful and prominent nobleman. Woizer Attitegeb’s mother, Woizero Tishal, was also of noble birth, Although Emperor Tewodros II is often refered to as a non-royal userper, he did claim that father was decended from Emperor Fasiledes through a daughter. Many of his contemporaries however did not believe that he was of Imperial blood. Indeed even today, he captures the imagination of his admirers more as a self made man rather than the scion of an ancient lineage of monarchs. It was however dificult in those days to rule the Empire without establishing some connection to the dynasty, so his claims may have been his attempt at ligitimation. While Kassa was still very young, his parents divorced, and his mother took her son from Kwara to her native Gondar. Not long afterwards, his father died, and his paternal relatives, eager to divide up the property among themselves, left Kassa without a share of his father’s property. Kassa’s mother apparently supported herself and her son by selling Kosso. Kosso is a powerful drug used to expel intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, which Ethiopians were prone to get due to their high consumption of raw meat. Kassa’s detractors would often refer to him as “the Kosso sellers son”, an insult he seldom forgave.

At a young age, Kassa was sent to study at a monastery as most other young boys of his era. The monastery where he was studying was pillaged and burned as a result of the endless wars of the Zemene Mesafin. The particular battle involved was probably the oddest battle of the entire era. In a bitter contest for power, Dejazmatch Wube Haile Mariam had decided to challenge the Yejju dynasty of Ras Ali II, the Enderase and Re-ese Mekwanint of the Empire. Although through his control of the puppet Solomonic Emperor, Ras Ali was the de-jure ruler of Ethiopia, much of the Empire was ruled by regional princelings and warlords. Dejazmatch Wube was among the more powerful of these warlords as he ruled not only Simien, Tsegede and Wolkait, but all of Tigrai which he had snatched from the sons of Dejazmatch Sabagadis, the Shum Agame, and all of Hamasein, Serai, Akale Guzai, as well as parts of northern Wollo. He was ruler of most of northern Ethiopia, and in fact liked to occasionally call himself “Ye Abesha Nigus” or “King of Abyssinia”, an illigitimate claim that irritated Ras Ali, the Emperor Yohannis III and the King of Shewa as well. Dejazmatch Wube had just arranged for the appointment of a new Archbishop from Alexandria. He had paid for the vast expenses involved in bringing the new bishop to Ethiopia, and pay the traditional payment for the appointment to the Turkish authorities in Egypt as well as to the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria. The new Archbishop, Abune Sellama II arrived in Ethiopia and went directly to Simien where Dejazmatch Wube convinced him that Ras Ali and his Yejju dynasty were really muslims and not Orthodox Christians. Although they were practicing Christians, the Re-ese Mekwanint and his family had clung to the Muslim names of their ancestors. However, this was apparently enough evidence for Abune Sellama to exhort the public to rise up against Ras Ali. Hearing of Dejazmatch Wube’s intentions of removing Ras Ali from the Enderaseship, the puppet Emperor Yohannis III (who had been forced to marry Ali’s mother and crown her Empress Menen) had secretly escaped and joined Wube in Simien in early 1841. In reply, the ex-Emperor Sahle Dingel was briefly restored to the throne by Ras Ali. In February of that year, Dejazmatch Wube attacked Ras Ali’s seat of government at Debre Tabor. What followed is probably the oddest battle in Ethiopian (indeed African) history. During the course of the battle, Ras Ali ordered a cavalry charge. As he watched from a hill top, he saw many of his cavalry fall before the guns of Dejazmatch Wube’s army. Seeing so many of his horsemen die, Ras Ali is said to have commented that all was lost, and he took flight to evade capture. Ironically, Dejazmatch Wube had also been viewing the charge, and seeing many of his men fall under the cavalry attack, he also decided that all was lost, and he also fled the battle field. The fact that both commanders of both armies had fled before the end of the battle would be the source of endless jokes for years. However, messengers were able to catch up with the fleeing Dejazmatch Wube to tell him that Ras Ali had fled. The prince of Simien returned in pompous triumph and entered Debre Tabor in victory, entering the great hall of Ras Ali to celebrate his victory. However, yet another odd twist was to take place. An officer of Ras Ali’s army named Aligaz with a small band of men, entered Debre Tabor which was quite chaotic at the time, and siezed the great hall, taking Dejazmatch Wube prisoner and quickly ending the victory celebration he was holding. Aligaz then sent messengers after the fleeing Ras Ali to notify him that victory was now his. The Ras however was so fearful, he had taken refuge at the Wadla monastery, and no one could find him. After hours of searching far and wide, and largely by the use of spies and informants, Aligaz was finally able to locate the Re-ese Mekwanint of Ethiopia and give him the good news. Ras Ali emerged from hiding to claim victory and returned to power. However, after some negotioations, Dejazmatch Wube was restored to his domains with the agreement that he would continue to pay his tribute to Ras Ali. Emperor Yohannis III was restored to his powerless throne. All in all, the situation was restored to exactly what it had been before the war, and the battle had been nothing more than a farcical waste of time, resources and lives. It was during this epic battle, that soldiers from the Moslem Raya and Azebo tribes of Wollo who were loyal to the Yejju dynasty of Ras Ali had torched the monastery where Kassa was studying. Witnessing the horrors of the distruction of his place of education had a deep impact on young Kassa and probably had a big effect on the course that his life took.

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More than 2,000 Students on Hunger Strike

A source from Aykel stated that more than 2,000 high school students are on hunger strike starting from this morning. The students are from Sereve and Aykel high schools. Some students also have joined them from junior high schools. The students have taken the measures to show their sympathy for more than 60 Kemant detainees whom in custody since the early March for their political views. The victims have been detained for demanding self- government in their area in accordance with Ethiopian Constitute. The students chanted and demanded the release of the detainees, and they said they would not return to the school unless they are freed. One farmer who observed the students said, “it is better to die with dignity rather than living without freedom.”

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Is Participating in Peaceful Demonstration Terrorist Act?

by Mizigena A

There is a challenge the constitution versus legal practice in Amhara Regional State. According to the constitution of Ethiopia 1995, article 30 (1), every unarmed person has the right to assemble and demonstrate together with others peacefully and petition. The proclamation number 3/1983.EC that was promulgated during the transition period as a procedure to conduct a demonstration clearly states in article 5/1/3/ and 6/2 the demonstration inquiry should satisfy the following conditions before staging into peaceful demonstration:
1. If the inquiry letter clearly states possible total number of demonstrators.
2. Name, position and signature of demonstration committee or institution leaders that organize and lead the demonstration.
3. If there is justifiable condition not permit the demonstration, a mayor or a town administration official should notify to the demonstration organizing committee within 48 hours clearly prescribing a reason, the demonstration is not permitted on that particular date.
Otherwise, the officials have no any right to totally reject the constitution rights of citizens to undertake open air meeting or demonstration request. If the mayor or city administration where the demonstration planned to take place fail to notify about the postponed of the demonstration it is considered as it is permitted.
With this understanding Kemant people conducted peaceful demonstration in Chilga Woreda (Aykel Twon) and Gondar town on different days by following the procedure of the proclamation number 03/1983 (E.C). On the two occasions alone about 400,000 people took part in the demonstration and finalized peacefully without any conflict. The two town administrators never accused of the organizing committee and the participants as it was the constitutional rights of Kemant people. Following the same procedure Kemant self administration request committee organized peaceful demonstration on March 9, at Metema woreda and about 50,000 demonstrates staged on the street and finalized peacefully.
However, immediately after the demonstration, Metema woreda officials detained 25 people who had a major role in conducting this demonstration and put them under custody. The breaching of the law starts here. In the first place, it is the constitutional right of the any citizen to conduct open air meeting or peaceful demonstration by notifying to the town administration to request for the assignment of police to safeguard and demonstrators from unwanted intruders that could change the sprite of the peaceful demonstration. And at the same time to know whether there are other events in the town that could be disturbed by the demonstration. With all these process Genda wuha town (Metema town) administration had said nothing and as a result the organizing committee took the request as accepted.
The second worst law breach is labeling the demonstration the act of terrorism. And the prosecutors charge 25 of them as terrorists. The most surprising thing is that a North Gondar prosecutor wrote a letter to Federal ministry of justice to give its comment whether conducting or attending peaceful demonstration without permission is an act of terrorism or not.
Look how these officials are blackening the image of Ethiopia. Imagine how human rights of Ethiopians are violated. First of all the government should have efficient professionals that could understand the law of the land. Or else they should resign to those who have the good knowledge about the law in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia passed its ant- terrorism proclamation 652/2009 in July 2009, though this law is controversial and against the constitution, whether the law is need at all.
I really, why Amahara region has continued working to soot the image of the country and how it relates demonstration with terrorism. If the region has no professionals who know the law of the land why it does not liquidate the institutions and be ordered by the central government? If peaceful demonstration is to be considered a terrorism act, then what will be the fate of peaceful struggle in Ethiopia? Where does the Amhara officials driving this country to?

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Four Kemants Killed, 50 Arrested and Oromos Feared for Their Life

According to a source wanted to remain in anonymous for personality safety, in Metema, Sudan border, four Kemants killed by a regional security force organized from districts of Alefa, Belasa and Dembya. The raid was made in the past weekend. Unconfirmed information indicates that the security force has been organized and supervised by Regional Security Chief Dessie Aseme. Other 50 Kemants arrested while some in their farming areas and others from their home. The same source reported that campaign was planned to uproot Kemants from their homelands to resettle other people politically suitable to the regime. More than 60-Kemanmts abducted by the security force in the early and middle of March are still in detention without charge (details may be updated as soon as the information is available).
About 700 Oromos who took part nation-wide sport games in Bahir Dar City were heard talking about fear of their life. One of Oromo young men called back home and said, “pray for our safety”. Another described that he would retaliate the aggressors when return home. Observers of stadium shouted “Gala, Gala, we are neftegnes” in the afternoon March 26. In the meanwhile, many people who consider themselves non-Amhara left the stadium in the protest, insult against the Oromos. Some observers believed that howlers likely organized and assigned by a clandestine entity supervised by Yaragel & Merhatibeb and the observers thought genocide in the region is imminent. What is paradoxical to this view is both named officials are active senior advisers of the regional government. There was also physical fighting between the people who identified themselves Amharas and Oromos. The observers also claimed police sided with the local people and beat the Oromo men.Consequently, some people taken to custody, no official charge was filed to date in any of them. On the closing day, March 30, Sport Commissioner, Mr. Abdisa and President Mulatu came to the stadium to give closing remarks, but their speeches were subjected to interruption by repeated shouting from audience.

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Security Starts Collecting Signature on Gunpoint

A reliable source wants to remain in anonymous for personal security informed wlka on the latest security operation against the will of the Kemant people. The security team called Task Force comprised of local Kebele chiefs, local ruling party cadres has begun going house-to-house to force residents on gunpoint to sign on a petition document prepared by the same security force. The statement of the petition document reads as follows:
1. The Kemant Committee members currently under control (in detention) are threat to peace and development. Subsequently, I support the measures taken by the government against them.
2. The Kemant Study Committee assigned by the House of Federation is illegal, has no binding power in the destiny of the Kemant people, and I utterly reject its involvement in the process.
Besides collecting the signatures on gunpoint, families of local ruling party members are persuaded or pressured to sign on the petition document. Those who displayed hesitation are warned about associated consequences including confiscation of their lands, but not limited. In addition to traveling house to house and forcing the people to sign on the petition document, the Security Force has also issued directives, the residents to attend public gatherings sponsored by the same today and tomorrow. According to the same source, the purpose of the public meeting is to condemned the detainees and collect more signatures. The process has been already in effect since yesterday in Lay Armachiho, Chilga and Metema districts, in Gondar, Amhara Region. As reported by wlka and other sources, March 7-9, 2014, more than 60 Kemant activists who have coordinated the struggle for democracy including autonomy for self-government in their area have been arrested or abducted and still kept in detention without due justice.

Updated on March 16

Wlka tonight received information that signals the reverse of the situation. The planned public gathering sponsored by the security was unsuccessful to date. The people rejected the move regardless of threats. Mr. Gizat Abyi who has been instrumental in execution of the operation reportedly apologized for what happened to the committee members. He stated also the Kemant’s request was constitutional, yet the committee members’ behaviors somewhat inappropriate and they would be released, according to a close source from Aykel.

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